Books and DVDs: Leader of the Pack

How Remarkable Women Lead: The Breakthrough Model for Work and Life

by Joanna Barsh and Susie Cranston

Crown Business

In a nutshell: Five necessary elements for creating balance.


This book tells the stories of women at the top, like Andrea Jung, CEO of Avon, and Gerry Laybourne, founder and former CEO of Oxygen Networks, and how they juggle a leadership role with their “second shift” as wife and mother. Authors Joanna Barsh and Susie Cranston spent several years conducting interviews, and through their research, they found that these successful women shared five things: meaning (having a sense of purpose), framing (being an optimist), connecting (building relationships), engaging (taking action) and energizing (managing your energy flow). This uplifting read is packed with positive reinforcement and ideas on how to integrate these five elements into your life.


How to Thrive as a Teacher Leader

by John G. Gabriel

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

In a nutshell: A practical guide that will take you from teacher to leader.


In response to a lack of material he found on the topic, John G. Gabriel penned a preparation manual for teachers moving into leadership positions, a challenge he himself faced when transitioning from high school English teacher to department chair. Teachers are natural catalysts for positive change, he says, and in this book he details strategies on how you can become a stronger voice within your academic system by embracing six elements of leadership: organizational, strategic, interpersonal, adaptive, motivational and instructional. He offers some basic career-counseling advice, and he emphasizes that part of becoming a good leader is creating a supportive team and helping those around you grow. The text is full of firsthand knowledge and examples, including a 54-page resource section with sample letters and e-mails, evaluation surveys, memos, interview questions and checklists to help put his suggestions into practice.


Other Duties as Assigned: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Expert Teacher Leadership

by Jan Burgess with Donna Bates

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

In a nutshell: Simple strategies for becoming an effective leader.


Author Jan Burgess mined her 30 years of experience in public education to create a teacher-friendly reference manual on leadership. In six parts, she addresses strategies for success, including how to build your team, adapt to changes in personnel and policy, encourage collective team brainstorming and gauge your progress. Using real-life scenarios, Burgess provides solutions for some common dilemmas teacher leaders face. At the end of each chapter, teacher-leader mentor Donna Bates (“Dear Donna”) responds to questions from teachers about specific leadership challenges. Also helpful are the list of resources for further research, small sidebars with thought-provoking questions and “A Teacher Leader’s Toolkit,” which includes checklists and templates for planning guides, meeting agendas and feedback surveys.

Teachers Trending
Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

Carole Alexis has been enduring the life-altering after-effects of COVID-19 since April 2020. For months on end, the Ballet des Amériques director struggled with fevers, tingling, dizziness and fatigue. Strange bruising showed up on her skin, along with the return of her (long dormant) asthma, plus word loss and stuttering.

"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

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Teachers Trending
Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

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Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

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